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skipntampa
12-13-2004, 04:13 PM
when I tested my water it read:
Nitrate = 80ppm
Nitrite = .5 ppm
Hardness = 150 ppm
Alkalinity = 0 ppm
pH = 6.2

They all died last night as soon as I finished a 25% water change, im not sure what went wrong, I added Amequel and Tap Water Treatment and some Fish Salt....

How do I get my water to lower the Nitrate, Nitrites and be more alkaline with a pH of 7.8 or higher?
I tested the water out back in my pond and its like perfect....I want to use the fish from it in my tank....they look like Dempsey's can I add lava rocks and lants to my tank to make the water more alkaline? I already have 2 amazon sword plants in there...but the rest of everything is plastic ornaments, like tree logs and stuff.....

Thanks

Glaive
12-13-2004, 05:28 PM
I'm sorry for your loss, more than likely your fish died from your high nitrite level.

If I had to guess you didn't cycle your tank and so when you added your fish the cycle began.

The cycle refers to the nitrogen cycle, in which bacteria are built up to handle the fishes waste.

ex
ammonia >> nitrite >> nitrate

I am guessing you were in the nitrite portion of the cycle, so it spiked and your fish died.

First off if you told the fish store it was a new tank and they told you it would be okay, do not return to the fish store.

As for setting up a new tank you should use the search function here, look for cycle or cycling tank etc.

I am not a bonafide expert in practice so that is as much as I can answer, I know the theoretical chemistry behind it much better.

Again I am sorry for your loss, but don't let yourself be dismayed, others will respond and again do the recomended search here and read up before you give it another go.

PS depending on the fish you were trying to keep your pH may have been way too low. It may be good to research the fish you want, to find out if they are compatible.

Also if you tell us where you live, just town/city some one may be able to point out a good store.

chc
12-13-2004, 05:47 PM
Good advice there. Also, don't worry about achieving a specific pH reading, etc. Stability is more important than specific readings. Just use your tap water without messing with its chemistry. Dempseys, etc. can tolerate a wide range of conditions, but they will suffer if those conditions are constantly changing.

OwassoFish
12-14-2004, 10:33 AM
Did you test your water before or after your fish had died? If those parameters were after the water change then your water conditions prior to the water change really had to be bad. Nitrite levels are the most probable cause. But if you had a large swing in PH or temperature when doing your water change, that could have done it as well.

I'm lucky that I was paying close attention when performing my weekly water change last night. While refilling the tank, my wife started a load of laundry and sucked all the hot water from the faucet I was using. I quickly had her shut it off til I was done and I only fluctuated the water by .2 degrees.

skipntampa
12-14-2004, 10:33 AM
Originally posted by Glaive
I'm sorry for your loss, more than likely your fish died from your high nitrite level.

If I had to guess you didn't cycle your tank and so when you added your fish the cycle began.

The cycle refers to the nitrogen cycle, in which bacteria are built up to handle the fishes waste.

ex
ammonia >> nitrite >> nitrate

I am guessing you were in the nitrite portion of the cycle, so it spiked and your fish died.

First off if you told the fish store it was a new tank and they told you it would be okay, do not return to the fish store.

As for setting up a new tank you should use the search function here, look for cycle or cycling tank etc.

I am not a bonafide expert in practice so that is as much as I can answer, I know the theoretical chemistry behind it much better.

Again I am sorry for your loss, but don't let yourself be dismayed, others will respond and again do the recomended search here and read up before you give it another go.

PS depending on the fish you were trying to keep your pH may have been way too low. It may be good to research the fish you want, to find out if they are compatible.

Also if you tell us where you live, just town/city some one may be able to point out a good store.

I understand all that...the tank has been up for 6 months now, I just did a 25% water change added some bogwood to the tank as well as some charcoal filter pads that were rinsed out well, within minutes the tinfoil barbs croaked and went belly up, then the algae eaters died then hours later both my Jack and Red Devil died....any ideas on what went wrong...I just checked the levels in the tank again and the Nitrate is very High...how do I lower it?

PS - If you look under my sig, it says I live in Tampa, Florida....

OwassoFish
12-14-2004, 10:37 AM
You can get the nitrate lower with water changes.

You might also test your water right out of the tap and see if there are nitrates there. You may have to use a tap water conditioner that removes nitrates during your water changes.

The speed at which they started dying off probably points to the cause but I'm not experienced enough to know what all those could be. I think a large temperature variance could account for that. I don't think that PH or Nitrites or Nitrates would kill them off that fast, nor chlorine.

cichgirl
12-14-2004, 10:42 AM
Did you use any cleaning products or soap before you stuck your hand in the tank? Sounds like it could be chemicals...

Glaive
12-14-2004, 10:52 AM
I would wonder about the bog wood...

What were your parameters before the change?

skiitswitch
12-14-2004, 11:26 AM
yeah - I'm thinking it could have been something in the bogwood - although your nitrate levels were extrordinarily high, the fish wouldn't just croak like that... they'd be breathing heavy for a bit first... but you definitely want to step up your water changes in order to take your nitrate levels down to around 10 to 20 ppm... bogwoods and driftwoods will also lower your pH by way of the tannins in them... crushed coral and limestones are good ways to naturally raise your ph. I also use buffers now as well since they're really quite cheap and just add another line of defense IMO.
but why you had nitrites in there after 6 months, I have no idea - did you just add any bioload?? something that could have killed off some of your bacteria?? since nothing else changed, I'd point at the bogwood

Glaive
12-14-2004, 12:19 PM
I forgot some important Qs for you.

1) What size tank do you have?

2) What are you using to filter said tank?

3) What are the parameters of your tap water? <second note, not to be insulting but did you use a water conditioner on your tap water?

I think we need those answered before we can help you get things underway.

Important parameters:
Ammonia NH3/NH4+
Nitrite NO2
Nitrate NO3

GH General Hardness
KH Calcium Hardness
GH+KH total hardness
pH Acidity-Basicity

If your current test kit does not include all of these then I would suggest picking up one that does. Your lfs should be able to help you there.
Alkalinity is term that can be so vague it's not really used in aquaria.

For your tap water it would be good to know hardness and pH will help determine how easily it can be modified.

For your existing tank water an ammonia reading might be nice.

All parameters would be good for your pond, so that we can help you match your tank water to your pond water.

Typically if your tap water hardness is not too high then simply adding crushed coral would bring your pH and hardness up, however with out knowing your filtration it is tough to say where exactly to put the crushed coral in your system.

Your nitrate level tells me that you have not been doing enough water changes it should really be sitting less than 20 ppm. In an established tank there should be no detectable ammonia or nitrite as both are incredibly toxic to fish. Your nitrite level of .5 is a toxic level to many fish where as your nitrate level is merely unhealthy.

Lava Rocks will not raise your pH to my knowledge how ever they are an excelent way to introduve plans such as java fern to your aquarium which in turn will naturally reduce nitrates. You just use either a rubber band or fishing line to tie the java fern to the lava rock and eventually it will root itself. Also the lava rock being porous will harbor beneficial bacteria.

If you can answer the Qs in this ridiculously long message I and others can help you out. With patience you can have a better second experience.

skipntampa
12-14-2004, 04:35 PM
Tank is 55g, filter is wet/dry...water comes from a hang over, then down over eggcrate with this white filter stuff over bio-balls and charcoal underneath that to a 500 gal per hour pump tha puts it back into the tank.
For substrate I have 3/4 gravel with 1/4 crushed coral, lava rocks, sand rocks, fake stumps and plants and 2 live Amazon sword plants, when I changed my water I added the recommended ammounts of Doc Wellfish Aqua Salt, Amquel + and AquqSafe Tap Water Treatment, I have done this many time before and never had a problem, usually I remove all the rocks take fish out and float them back in after Im done...but I just got a Python and this time I did everything bucketless.....Im thinking I may have had a temp. drop of about 2-3 degrees....thats probably what killed them....but I had noticed that they were breathing very heavy and didnt swim much around at all.....then went belly up....first the barbs almost within 10-15 mins...then my Jack after an hour and the pleco after 2 and the Red Devil sometime last night, I awoke to him dead....so i took out the bogwood after the first fish went belly up...im going to test my tap water.....anything else?

skipntampa
12-14-2004, 04:42 PM
Usually, for the past month or 2 my water read like this:
NO3 = 40ppm
NO2 = .5ppm
GH = 150-300
KH = 0 - 40 (always been low)
pH = 6.2 - 6.8 (always been low)

Fish have been this way for a good 3-4 months, but recently the nitrates have been High, I though my filter was getting very dirty...all the tubes and stuff had very nasty brown algae stuff in them as well as this dark green/brown sludge over the bio-balls, I rinsed them out a liltle and cleaned the tubes, could I have made my tank re-cycle after removing this algae buildup...I was told to replace the white filter pads as well as the charcoal every month by the local LFS...so to remove the filter pads I have to take out the bio-balls so I usually rinse them alittle bit them put the new pads in after rinse them out.

skipntampa
12-14-2004, 04:45 PM
The test Kit I use is a quick dip 5-in-1 test strips...It was cheaper than going to the LFS cause thats what they used...I bought some other kits that require me to add drops of chemicals to it...but they had a range that I always seemed to be over....so I ended up getting the strips....I dont have anything that test the amonium should I get that?

skipntampa
12-14-2004, 04:51 PM
Water out of the tap is:
NO3 = 0
NO2 = 0
GH = 150 - 300
KH = 80
pH = 6.8 - 7.2

skipntampa
12-14-2004, 04:57 PM
I like haveing the real plants in the tank...as I am trying to setup a more natural look....well minus the red lava rock, but I really like Dempseys and fish of that sort, but I also want more than just 1 or 2 fish...what will go good with the managunese? and what GH, KH, pH and Temp should the water be like to keep them in the 55g? Thanks...Im also debating on selling/trading the managunese for Africans...whats the max number of Africans I can have in a 55g...I also want very colorful ones as well...like reds yellows blues greens....

skiitswitch
12-14-2004, 05:44 PM
Wow - lots of stuff there... hmmm... to me you should do about twice as many water changes as you were doing... that should keep the nitrates around 20 instead of 40...
so when you do water changes you take out all of the rocks and vacuum the gravel to get the deleterious?? If so, that's what I do too - usually only half of the tank at a time though. And I do a water change when the nitrates get to around 20-30 ppm which works out to about once a week. Do you remove the fish with every water change?? Where do you put them? This isn't necessary as it really stresses them alot by netting them and taking them out and then back in... they would be fine in the tank during your water changes (if you do in fact remove them at every change).
Also curious as to why your pH is so low even with the crushed coral... to me it means that there's too much time between water changes as I'm pretty sure the pH will naturally drop with time... (but I could be wrong here)
The nitrite prescence is strange too - especially if it is typically like that... in an established tank that should always be zero - and I'd question your test kit, but I use the same one, and assuming you used the same one for your tap water, it probably would have registered something there too if it were screwed up...
a 2-3 degree temp change also isn't that big of a deal IMO to such hardy fish as tiger barbs too... still leaning to something in the water like a cleaning agent or something from the bog wood.
I'm not really familiar with wet/dry sumps either, but from my understanding they're pretty beefy filters, but I guess it would depend somewhat on what you use for media and how much total area you have for bacterial colonization...
Also, as a random note - pH 6.8 or so is pretty good for what you had in there... africans should have much higher (~7.8-8.2 for Malawi and 9-9.4 for Tang, depending on who you ask)
Africans in a 55... that's a tough question - depends on what type. Assuming you do some colorful, hyper mbuna, 12 - 15 is a good number for a 55... that is assuming you ditch the Managunese of course...
whew... hopefully some more people will get on and help too...

Glaive
12-14-2004, 05:50 PM
Okay this helps out a lot.

Your fish most likely died from nitrite poisoning. Now to help you not have another die off.

An established tank should have an amount so low that it does not register on store bought tests. This goes for ammonia and nitrite. Nitrate is reduced by living plants and water changes and while toxic to fish the ammount you stated should not be fatal.

From all that I have read the 5 in 1 strips are really not accurate, the drop tests are much better.

Deffinetly get an ammonia test. Ammonia is more toxic to fish than even nitrites.

When you washed out your bio media you may have killed the bacteria and caused a cycle. For the future rinse your media occasionally in a bucket with tank water. Maybe once a month I'd guess and never all of it or too thoroughly.

You shouldn't need charcoal pads.

The white sponges are more biomedia, if you take care of them they last a very long time. Rinse half of them every other week in a bucket of tank water and just put them back in. My sponges in my fluval 2+ have been in there for about 2 years now with out replacement, just a regular cleaning.

Your tap water hardness is low enough that putting crushed coral in with your bio balls where it will have water pass through it regularly should raise the pH and hardness some. Otherwise your water treatment sounds good. Just let the pH go where it does naturally.

If you like the look of live plants and lava rock then I would suggest getting some lava rock and java ferns, two plants is plenty. tie the java ferns to the lava rocks or dig them a hole in the lava rock and shove thier roots in. As you get new plants, java ferns spawn new plants at the ends of thier leaves, pull them off and put them into the lava rock in the same manner. This will help reduce nitrates naturally

Maintenance:
First note just leave your fish in the tank for this they will get used to you invading.

1st week
Siphon out 20-30% of your water putting some in a bucket, one for your fish tank only. Use the bucket water to rinse 1/2 of the existing sponges and some of the bio balls.

2nd week
Siphon out 20-30% of water while vacuuming maybe 1/2 of the gravel bed.

3rd week
Repeat 1st week only alternate sponges to be cleaned and dig for other bio balls.

4th week
Repeat 2nd week only alternate to other half of the gravel bed.

This regimen should keep your tank at peak efficiency and you will have happier fish for it. I hope this very long winded message helps you out. :)

Glaive
12-14-2004, 05:55 PM
Most Africans would probably want a pH of around 8.0 or higher and a total hardness of at least 150 ppm I'd say though going higher with the hardness will help maintain your pH. I would still throw those strips in garbage and get the dropper test kits, much more trust worthy IMO.

Just curious I noticed in your sig it said 55 gallon now cycling, hopw are you cycling it? And how are you testing to see where it is at in the cycle?

skipntampa
12-14-2004, 07:05 PM
Well after all the fish died I was just going to take everything out and start over but I guess Im just letting the tank do its thing right now....im gonna let it cycle without adding fish to it....I want to get some from the pond out back cuase if they die they wont cost me anything, right now though the water temp outside has dropped, and the GH KH and PH ae vey high outside, with no NO2 or NO3 registering at all, so Im trying to get my tank to replicte whats outside, I just put the lava rocks I used to have in there back in, and added back in some crushed coral....Im going with your advice and am adding some crushed coral to the filter as well, Im going to get the ferns cause I love plants...will keep you guys updated....as far as any chemicals in the tank...no I dont get anywhere near the tank with chemicals whatsoever, The bogwood was a big piece of driftwood I found at the beach....I soaked it in tap water for a few days and let it dry...then put it in my tank....maybe it killed off my fish...oh well im not using real wood anymore.....Im going to go with Africans...what size and what type should I get..there are way too many for me to figure out which to go with which...oh Yeah..there names and how to pronounce them would help as well...thanks guys

skiitswitch
12-14-2004, 07:16 PM
well as far as the cycle goes though - it won't cycle until you get something in there producing ammonia - whether that is with a fishless cycle by adding ammonia yourself or by throwing a school of danios or tetras or something in there. As far as what fish to get - check out the african forums... tangs have been very popular on here lately, but there's always the malawian mbuna which are always fun... there's over 3500 different species to choose from though with Africans, so you kinda just have to look through some pics and decide what you like... or check out the lfs's and see what they have available and research those fish to see which ones would go well together...
I'd take all the water out though and rinse it a couple of times and then start over - just in case there was something toxic on the wood... for futrue reference though, before I put anything like that in my tank I soak it in 25% bleach and water for a day or two, rinse it with tap water, soak it again, rinse it again, and then soak in water a couple times, then soak it in water plus a bunch of amquel - when it doesn't smell like chlorine at all, it's clean and it goes in the tank. good luck with everything though!!

Glaive
12-14-2004, 07:17 PM
Why don't you browse the galleries here and around the web find a fish you really like and then post a new message asking if the fish is good for a 55 gallon and suggested tank mates?

Also if you are doing a fishless cycle I assume you you are using an ammonia supplement? <gotta have ammonia for the cycle to start and complete>

PS with your description of the way they behaved before they died and the ammount of nitrite, I'd bet my car that they died from nitrite poisoning.

Cichlid_Fan
12-14-2004, 07:48 PM
Stop using Amquel, it's hard to get out and will give you false ammonia readings. Even though your test kit says 0ppm ammonia, you can have high ammonia. Besides, in a cycled tank there is never any reason to use it and certainly not on a regular basis.

As for some africans to start with, I would recommend Malawi cichlids to start. Particularly, Yellow labs(Labidochromis caeruleus). They are fair tempered and do well together. You could get six or so. Have plenty of holy rocks as they like to set up home in the cravasses.

http://www.bennystropicalfish.com/images/fish/thumbnails/t_Labidochromis_caeruleus.jpg

Good luck,
Matt

skipntampa
12-14-2004, 08:10 PM
I just threw my cast net over the lake/manmade ponds out back and caught like 12 fish...including a catfish! These will be my cycle fish...hopefully they will get hungry enough to eat the flake food Im giving them...will get pics as soon as I find my digi cam....thanks for all the help...

Glaive
12-14-2004, 08:50 PM
Good luck,

And give the Yellow Labs a shot may mix well with Fryeri for a really nice yellow blue contrast and the diets are close enough.

skiitswitch
12-14-2004, 10:00 PM
Originally posted by skipntampa
I just threw my cast net over the lake/manmade ponds out back and caught like 12 fish...including a catfish! These will be my cycle fish...hopefully they will get hungry enough to eat the flake food Im giving them...will get pics as soon as I find my digi cam....thanks for all the help...
lol! that's awesome! I know that a couple people on this site actually used to keep fish like bass and cats and all... actually require alot of tank room to keep... but that's a random statement. Good luck and have fun!

skipntampa
12-15-2004, 07:25 PM
they sure are pretty damn active when the lights are out...how do I make them get more active with the lights on?

Cichlid_Fan
12-15-2004, 07:57 PM
Originally posted by skipntampa
they sure are pretty damn active when the lights are out...how do I make them get more active with the lights on?

Wild caught fish act quite differently than captivity bred fish.

In time they will get used to the light. Just remember, they have never seen that strange glowing from above except for the dim light of the sun in the water.

skipntampa
12-15-2004, 09:57 PM
we just got some brine shrimp and ghost shimp snd some guppies, i have been feeding them som Spirulina flakes....i hope they eat them by waching the guppies eat...

skipntampa
12-15-2004, 09:58 PM
Still no clue as to what they are...how do i take good looking pics of the tank with my digicam?

Glaive
12-15-2004, 11:36 PM
Try using the search function or check out the photography forum... If you post in the photography forum try to give info such as camera make and model, will help us techno junkies point out what features you have...